North Korea has threatened nuclear strikes on the US and South Korea, this time in reaction to the start of huge joint military drills by the two countries.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly still trying to consolidate power more than four years after taking over following the death of his father and can not be seen as showing any weakness with the first congress by the ruling Workers’ Party in three decades looming in April.
Always ragged relations between North Korea and its rivals Seoul and Washington have worsened following North Korea’s nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket test last month.
“Now, what matters is to thoroughly implement the Security Council sanctions to make sure that North Korea will abandon its nuclear program and move toward change”, Park said in a regular meeting with her top aides at Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea’s presidential office.
The exercises will revolve around a wartime plan adopted by South Korea and the United States a year ago, called OPLAN 5015.
The military exercises in the South include ground, air, naval and Special Operations personnel, and include 17,000 us troops and 300,000 South Korean soldiers.
Pyongyang said, according to the Associated Press (AP) that its enemies “are working with bloodshot eyes to infringe upon the dignity, sovereignty and vital rights” of North Korea.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei noted that North Korea had already said it opposed the drills, adding that Beijing was “deeply concerned” about the exercises.
There remains considerable debate about whether North Korea is capable of the kind of strikes it regularly threatens.
Any strike would not just target operational theatres on the Korean peninsula, but also United States bases on the mainland and in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.
Today’s statement was released ahead of the annual military drill carried out by South Korean and American troops in the neighbouring country.
‘If we push the buttons to annihilate the enemies even right now, all bases of provocations will be reduced to seas in flames and ashes in a moment, ‘ said a statement from North Korea.
The massive joint exercises are likely to trigger a military response from North Korea.
Analysts doubt whether North Korea has the capability to attach its nuclear weapons to a missile, and firing one would be suicidal for North Korea, whose conventional military still uses Soviet-era equipment.